Current Market for Plumbing companies

NOTE: This post was originally written for the Wealthy Plumber coaching group but it summarizes my thoughts nicely so I’m posting it here as well.

Hey all,

I’m seeing posts about business slow in a lot of groups that I’m part of. I figured I’d give you guys my perspective as a business owner and a marketer. 

Is it slow? Yes, it is. It’s not just you. Large portions of North America are going through a slow period. I’m seeing it in nearly every Facebook group I’m part of and lots of my colleagues are talking about it and engineering new ways to help out. Some markets are insulated, but they’ll have their slow periods eventually too. 

Google trends is an amazing tool for eyeballing the demand of a market. I have pinned a screenshot to this post. You can clearly see the  height of the “covid lift” around February 2021 before it starts to taper off. We’re now at the lowest point we’ve seen in three years.

screenshots of google trends showing the decline in searches for Plumber Near Me.
“Plumber Near Me” for the past three years.

I know that sounds scary, but take a deep breath because it’s not all doom and gloom. If you back out even further you’ll see that we’re returning to levels more common with 2018 and 2019. You know what people did way back in those olden times? They still built awesome businesses.

You do have some new challenges in the mix to consider. More competition being one of them. Because the market was easy to move, a lot of shops sprang out of nowhere. You may be one of them. Good, you picked up when opportunity knocked.

I’ve been through periods like this before in other industries. I started working at this company in 2008 (what a year…) and then in 2015 I bought the business right as Alaska was going through its own recession. I walked into a lot of meetings where people were wishing it was still 2012. It wasn’t fun for anyone, but it was a time where I saw the difference between those that faltered and those that held their ground. 

The companies who didn’t strive to be better were culled. The market won’t bear a bad business for long and the bottom 25% of businesses that weren’t focused on their customers dropped out of the market. The businesses who were still making forward progress, even though small, got to ride the wave of re-adjustment.

Suddenly a small gain in market share became a huge gain when the economy swung back around. Less competition, demand lifted back up and things were easier. Collective relief. On top of that, those businesses suddenly had a new position in the pecking order too, they were in the top-tier.

To be frank, a lot of you are already lifting yourselves out of the bottom rung of plumbers I talk to purely because you’re part of this group and working to be better than the rest. So breathe easy because you’re already doing the hard work that a lot of others won’t.  

So, with all that said, what do you do right now?

  • Engage with your community, be a part of what they’re a part of.
  • Every call matters, answer your customers. They need you.
  • Become a vacuum of customer information. Even if they don’t use you today, you can convince them tomorrow.
  • Do what the chuck in a truck won’t. Be loud and be interesting.
  • Keep doing amazing service.
  • Remember that nurturing existing customers is just as important as getting new ones.

Finally, you’re in business. Business is hard. 

It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but it’s also a surefire way to build up yourself and the people around you. Best part of all of it though is that you’re not alone, you’ve got an amazing group of people right here who are in it with you. 

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